6 Tips for Effective Meeting Facilitation

Pop quiz time. Ready?

What is the number one, most valuable resource for coaches and teachers?

a. Coffee
b. Time
c. Post It Notes
d. Technology

And the answer is (I’ll bet you guessed it)…b!! TIME! (although maybe this could have been tied with a)

As you know, we really need every single minute of it to get done everything we need to get done in our busy days.

So there’s nothing worse than when our time is wasted.

And you know what one of the biggest culprits can be? Meaningless Meetings.

Sure, meetings (planning meetings, PD meetings, business related meetings) are an essential part of working in a school. But if run poorly, they can be a huge waste of time.

But good news! As coaches there’s something we can do about this.

We facilitate lots of meetings, so let’s make sure the ones we’re responsible for leading are meaning-FULL, not meaningless.

5-Tips-for-Facilitating-Planning

I thought it might be helpful if I walked you through a case study of what it can look like to put this plan into action.

OK. So earlier this week I facilitated a curriculum planning meeting with our fourth grade team. Here’s how I went about making sure I had all my ducks in a row and the meeting was a meaningful use of this team’s time.

1. Identify Outcomes and Create an Agenda

To help me identify an outcome for our time together that felt supportive to the team, I sent out an email the week prior to meeting with them. After I received their response, I was able to create a purposeful agenda aligned to their needs.

agenda-visual1

2. Provide Helpful Resources

I always try to think about what resources (books, videos, examples, planning templates, etc.) would support teachers in the work they’re setting out to accomplish. In this particular case, I thought it would be helpful to give them a planning template they could use to help them with the logistics that go into planning a Celebration of Learning.

How to Facilitate a Successful Meeting

3. Use Google Docs

In curriculum planning meetings, there’s frequently a good amount of collaborative work and thinking going on. Google Docs/Drive makes it super easy for me to capture this work and share it with the team afterwards.

How to Facilitate a Successful Planning Meeting

4. Listen First, Talk Second

I have lots of thoughts and ideas I’m excited to share with teachers in planning meetings. But I zip it up, and listen first. Then I can guide the discussion as needed with follow-up questions or suggestions.

How to Facilitate a Successful Meeting

5. Track Time and Keep it Tight

As the facilitator, it’s my role to track time and keep the team’s work on track. Since we only have 45 minutes for these planning meetings, this is super important. Including the estimated amount of time for each part of the agenda helps with this.

How to Facilitate a Successful Meeting

6. Identify Next Steps and Follow-Up

Don’t forget to leave 5 minutes at the end of your time to review what was covered and identify next steps. AND set a time/day for when you’ll follow-up.

steps

And BOOM! You’ve got yourself a meaning-FULL meeting.

If you have an upcoming meeting to facilitate, hopefully you can use these tips as a roadmap to get you started and check your work.

Have a question, or maybe a tip I didn’t include? Share it in the comments below.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll talk to you soon!

ms-houser

 

 

P.S.  If you liked this post and found it helpful, I’d GREATLY appreciate if you helped me spread the word using the share buttons below. Thanks!

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17 Responses to “6 Tips for Effective Meeting Facilitation”

  1. Aisha Smith November 13, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Thank you. I always try to think of ways to make sure the meetings are beneficial for teachers. I really enjoy your blog.

    • Kristin Houser November 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks Aisha, for your comment and for being a part of the MsHouser community. I think it’s something we’re all trying to be mindful of, and continuously have to work on :)

  2. Hetty MD November 13, 2015 at 10:39 am #

    Thank you very much . I am planning a meeting soon and I found your blog very helpful and enjoyable.

  3. Justin Locke November 13, 2015 at 11:38 am #

    Would you be wiling to provide me with more information about how your teachers are implementing the Celebrations of Learning you mentioned in this post? Is this being done in certain subject areas and grade levels? In what ways and at what times are these celebrations being offered an audience?

    Thank you for all the great insight you provide in these posts.

    • Kristin Houser November 16, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Justin. Sure…all our grade levels, K-5, plan a Celebration of Learning for the conclusion of each of their Expeditions. These usually occur twice a year. The celebrations are often held at our school, with community members and others involved in the Expedition invited, however we often have grade levels present their work beyond our school walls! Just depends on the work being done. They take some time and planning, but teachers and kids really value this opportunity! Hope that helps :)

  4. Lamika November 15, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    This was very helpful and meaningful.

    Thank you!

  5. amy betters-midtvedt November 16, 2015 at 6:47 am #

    Thanks so much for this! I just love your blog, your advice is not only great but well organized. Your reminder about listening first is just what I needed. It is so refreshing to find great coaching information. I always look forward to your posts!

    • Kristin Houser November 16, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks Amy! I appreciate your comment, as yours and others keep me going with putting posts together!

  6. Felice November 17, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Hello!

    Thank you for your tips! Have you read “Meeting Wise” by Kathryn Boudett and Elizabeth City? It is an excellent resource.

    • Kristin Houser November 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Felice! Thanks so much for sharing this resource. I haven’t heard of that resource, but I’m going to check it out. Thanks!

  7. Kristin November 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    Hi Kristin,
    How often do your grade-level meetings occur, and who provides the coverage for the classroom teachers to be able to meet? That’s a real stumbling block I’m running into, so any insight would be great! Thanks so much for all of your support and ideas!

    • Kristin Houser November 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      Hi Kristin! Thanks so much for your comment and question. We hold monthly curriculum meetings with each grade level. These take place during their specials block, which they all have at the same time. Last year, they weren’t all at the same time so we provided one teacher with coverage, which was usually a para. Hope that helps!!
      Kristin

  8. Rebecca November 22, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    These are some wonderful tips. Thank you for sharing! I just finally created a new blog post and gave you a shout-out in it for your Time & To Do planner that I LOVE!

    • Kristin Houser November 27, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

      Thanks so much Rebecca! I appreciate that :)
      Kristin

  9. Chrissy Beltran January 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Excellent post! As a teacher, I sat through so many useless or wasteful meetings that, as an instructional coach, I try to make it a point to make meetings purposeful, focused, and productive. Thanks for these tips!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

    • Kristin Houser January 1, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks Chrissy! Your blog is great, and I read it frequently. It’s fun to get to know another instructional coach blogging buddy :)
      Kristin

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